DIY Culottes | A Britex-enabled make

ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesWell, hello there. Representing Australia in Green and Gold….I kid! I didn’t mean to look so, um representative. I was going for colour-block loveliness not Aussie Olympicness! Anyway, I’m pretty excited to share this make with you today. A pair of culottes is what. Confused? Has fashion regressed? Well, yes and no. Culottes are back, that’s one thing. Thankfully there’s been some advances since last time culottes were officially ‘in’ and they’re looking less like this  and more like the super svelt pair you see before you. Thanks, I’ll take it.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesI’ve wanted in on this culotte revival since this pair, then this pair and then suddenly there were ALL the pairs so I did what any sew-obsessed woman would do and created an inspiration board (shrine) to keep track of ALL the pairs. What is so deeply appealing about this strange hybrid midi-skirt-long-shorts garment? Let me try and put it into words: a. Culottes are fun b. Culottes are practical and c. Culottes are…they are just great ok?! Work with me here.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesDo you find there certain elements you are drawn to planning your hand-made wardrobe? I always feel I’m drawn to interesting silhouettes. And the shape of culottes makes them super fun to play with proportions. You can pair them with a boxy crop, a slouchy sweater or a button-down shirt. I love them with a heel (or in leather), in a vibrant solid colour or a busy print! Done right, with a ‘restrained’ amount of pleating near the hips, they’re actually really flattering (you had your doubts, don’t lie) not to mention versatile. They hit that sweet spot between being under-stated feminine and utalitarian. You’re almost sold I can tell…ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesSo what are are options for DIY-ing yourself a pair of culottes. I love it when pattern companies take cues from what’s going on in the outside world because there are actually a whole bunch of good looking ready-made culotte patterns at our disposal. There’s culottes by Style ArcMegan Nielsen, Liels and Co.Burdastyle and Vogue, to name a few. Or you can just do what I did and ‘culottify’ any shorts pattern you know and love by extending the side seams. I chose the Tap Shorts by Katy and Laney, version ‘B’ with ‘deep pleats’, an invisible side zipper and welt pockets.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesFrom what I can remember of the instructions (I made these in January) they were great, no dramas! The method of inserting welt pockets was different from what I’ve done before but they actually turned out more precise and neater than any previous welt pockets. I’ll be going back to refer to it. If you’re wondering about sizing, I went by the measurements and made a size 6. There’s some very handy ‘finished garment measurements’ to go by for the waist and hip. I wish more patterns supplied this info; it takes some of the guess work out of getting a good fit. To ‘culottify’ the Tap Shorts, you extend the inner leg seam pretty much straight down and the side seam down and out at a slight angle.  Sounds obvious, right? Thanking Culotte Queen Lily Sage and Co. for this advice…extending two straight lines had fallen outside my realm of possible at the time.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesBeing in the middle of a major colour-block appreciation moment, I spied this mango coloured ‘Gamboge-orange’ stretch cotton and knew it was destined for culotte-dom. This fabric is possibly even more yummy and yolky in the flesh and the perfect bottom weight. But, I have to say, bright orange culottes was maybe one of those ideas that seem so great the time but then afterwards you’re not so sure. A friend described the finished pair as ‘retro’ and I went all meh on them. I don’t know…they’re just so ORANGE! And I poured SO much love into them. Like an insane amount of love. I actually did proper welt pockets, not fake ones. In a fit of culotte-fever I thought it would be fun to bind, with bias binding, every single inside seam. The insides are a work of art, I tell you. I also added in-seam side pockets. And lovingly installed a freakin invisible zipper INTO one of these in-seam side pockets (don’t ask me how, it was a feat of spatial thinking and intuitive sewing). And at the end of all that to be a bit hmmm about them, was a bit of a kick to the sew-jo.ADA SPRAGG | Not Your Nanna's Sewing | DIY CulottesStill, I’m not done with culottes yet! I’ve just started thinking about cool weather sewing and culottes are definitely going to feature. Preferably with a fluffy sweater. So, what do you think…are you #teamculottes or still sitting on the fence? Admittedly, culottes are great for sitting on fences because you can’t flash and get to look cute at the same time. Something to think about while you’re gathering culotte-spiration and checking out Kirsty’s Pineapple Culottes because…pineapple…cullottes!

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  • Anniewrote:

    Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!!
    Love these, you have great taste and vision choosing the shorts pattern. I also love your pinterest board. I’m fond of a story board myself.

  • Elizabethwrote:

    I’m not really positive I’m team cullotes for myself, but I am definitely team these culottes on you. I believe that the inside is a work of art, but the outside is definitely one as well.

  • Evesewcoolwrote:

    These culottes rock!!!

  • Jennywrote:

    I think they look great on you! I’m not sure whether or not I would wear them if I made a pair of culottes… They are a bold piece of clothing.
    If you don’t really like the colour of yours, maybe you could dye them? I imagine they would look great in a navy blue. I do it all the time if I don’t like the colour of clothes or fabric (any more). 🙂

    Greetings from Germany

    • Sophiewrote:

      Jenny that is the best idea ever! I would love them in navy blue. Wonder if it would dye okay over orange…

      • Suzannahwrote:

        Hi Sophie!

        I had a similar dilemma once and went to CullaChange in Surry Hills in Sydney (I think the original recommendation came from one of the girls at Tessuti’s or The Fabric Store). They’re brilliant – they’re very good at telling you what’s achievable – the only tricky part might be the zip, from what I understand poly can’t be died so if you go navy blue or black, you might have to change the zip. Here’s the contact details if you decide to go that route. (I do wonder, however, if you mixed your beautiful orange pair with a white shirt, raffia square envelope bag, and thin strappy sandals, you’re pants would look more Alexander Wang than vintage.)

        216 Devonshire Street,
        Surry Hills NSW 2010
        phone (02) 9310 7766
        fax (02) 9310 5754

        Hope that helps!

  • Sarah - Fabric Tragicwrote:

    So I’m not planning to join in the culotte frenzy but agree in the right proportions they look fab. I can see your golden beauties paired with a crop navy and white striped Breton top – chic and gorgeous.

  • sewadelinewrote:

    What the heck?! You are a freaking professional model and your culottes are amazing! This is high fashion, girl!
    I’m in awe

  • Trinewrote:

    Gorgeous Sophie! Now you’ve made me consider culottes. I love that your version is not super wide. Burda has just released a pattern that looks a lot like these beauties.


    A leather(ette) version would be so cool….perhaps I should.

  • Pumpenerwrote:

    I love these, i think they are really cool, the cut iz amazing on you and the colour is chic , im sure you can find other tops shoes that will work with this-dont give up after all your hard sewing yakka! It bugs me that some people will think a colour scheme belongs to one thing, like xmas, bees or i was thinking about doing a green colourblocked outfit but then it was near st paddies day and people are dumb, but we should just wear our stuff and not care because green and orange(it appears yellow on my phone) looks cool and no the olympics or anything else shouldnt monoplize style

  • Veronica Darlingwrote:

    I’m deffo Team Culottes for everyone else but not me… at 4 foot eleven (150cm) I have made them once before (with a coco type jacket) for work (in my early 20s I was a bit more serious in the office) … and really felt too dumpy instead of sleek.

    There are a few silhouettes that are dreamy, but on petite busty babes, turn me into Grug or tiny walking tents. I could be wrong, but you could well be leading Team Culotte in this … I adore the mango yellow… try with a black cropped top?

  • Maddiewrote:

    Oh my, you are an absolute vision!

    What elements am I drawn to when designing handmade clothing? Definitely fabric. I actually prefer simple silhouettes that let the fabric shine – the blue coat I made for winter (Portia Blue), is a perfect example.

  • debbiewrote:

    Totally AWESOME! I love the colour, and the silhouette.

  • Jessicawrote:

    I love these! I like that you paired the bright color with a more earthy tone…maybe that type of pairing will take them into fall/winter as well. I don’t know if I’m on team culotte yet. I like the idea of them, and they look fabulous on you, so I think I could be convinced.

  • Nat @ Made in Homewrote:

    awesome, but yes I do have some reservations about them being flattering on me. May have to investigate a bit more which shape will work best on me – they sound so practical, that I feel I should have a pair!

  • Gailwrote:

    Very patriotic colour scheme there! My inner jury is still out on cullotes. Can they be worn on a 56 year old woman who is only 5ft 2ins?

  • Mahwahwrote:

    I’m definitely pro cullo since I made my 1st pair some time ago… and what’s more you can sit any old way you please…nothing is unlady-like when you are cullotting, oh and don’t change the mango just experiment with tops – I m rather fond of the navy /black suggestions….or lacey cream ??

  • Charlottewrote:

    Love these so much! I’ve been thinking about culottes for at least 2 summers – I think this has to be the summer I finally make them.

  • Kat @ House of Lanewrote:

    I am all oars the culottes train! I love the vogue jumpsuit I made recently and I’m planning to make a pair of the Megan Nielsen ta in culottes too. I absolutely love the colour! Although I also agree that I would probably get a bit freaked out to wear them. You though are supermodel hot and could totally pull it off!

  • SusanMwrote:

    Not sure that culottes are for me but they look stunning on you. The turquoise top makes the orange pop.

  • Amandawrote:

    I love the simple lines of these, Sophie! You’ve hit the right balance of wide legged and pleating 😀 I am most curious about the invisible zip pocket- what a fabulous idea! Epic work 😀

  • Juliewrote:

    Still sitting on the fence. I love them on other people. But I feel when you get to my age anything like this make you look as if you have just dug to the back of your wardrobe.

  • Katiewrote:

    I am decidedly NOT on team culottes, but these do look great on you. And Inlove View B of the tap shorts! I made a pair last year and would like to make a couple more for summer. I’d love to hear how you MacGyvered a pair of pockets into them though!

  • Natalie from Sewoutnumberedwrote:

    Done! I’m trying to pay more attention to fashion trends and jump on board even it goes against my initial instincts. I did this recently with a pair of thick strap leather wedges – something I normally wouldn’t go for and still wasn’t convinced when I bought them but every time wear them I feel awesome!! Moral of the story – trust others for fashion advice more than myself 😉 Culotte fabric search starts now!

  • Jillian - SewUnravelledwrote:

    Well clearly I am a few down, so def team culottes. I love me a wide leg and being able to sit on the fence (literally) is lovely. I really love your version. Sit with them a bit – they’ll grow on you again, I swear!

  • Philowrote:

    Hello there, I am not a fan of culottes as I think they don’t suit me (legs too short). But I like them on you.
    Bye, Philo

  • Sashawrote:

    Thank god for the advances and the updates … these look sleek and stilish. Brilliant idea to adapt the tap shorts pattern. In your opinion would deepening the pleats be the right manner of adding fullness ?

  • Holli Coatswrote:

    Every time these pop up on my Kollabora feed I’m like “maybe I can do culottes” so yes, I think you convinced me! Well done! Here’s hoping they get lots of wear despite their orange-ness- because they are fab!

  • Lizwrote:

    you totally rock these culottes! They are not for my figure though, I seem to recall them first time around and that horribly thigh bunching – ick!!

  • Chie (@vivatveritas)wrote:

    I love everything you make! We need to swap our closet!

  • Bethwrote:

    these look so lovely on you! especially with those shoes. i think the colour is awesome 😀

  • retro, vintage, antique – what’s the difference? | skirt as topwrote:

    […] the sewing world, think dungarees, culottes, bodysuits.  you’ve seen those types of clothes before in prior decades, and the designers […]

  • Sinikka-Cause to Wearwrote:

    Just found your post and I’m deeply impressed by this pair of culottes. So much so, I decided to make a pair for myself. Thanks for sharing these instructions and especially for the inspiration. I know I’m kinda late with this comment and my culottes, but in Finland these are an upcoming trend. We are behind on everything up here 😀

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